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South Australian police will begin wearing stab and bulletproof vests, in a trial aimed at offering them better protection from violent attacks.
But their union has slammed the plan, saying all officers should be wearing them by now.
It follows recent graphic examples of officers being confronted by offenders armed with knives.
“Policing is inherently a dangerous occupation and we are from time to time confronted with people who have firearms or who have knives,” Deputy Commissioner, Linda Williams said.
From Saturday, officers will trial seven different protective vests that are not only bulletproof but protect against weapons like knives, screw-drivers and metal bars.
“We want to make sure can road test these to make sure we get the right fit the right protection and right comfort level for police officers,” Police Minister Corey Wingard said.
But the Police Association says the new vests have taken too long to arrive.
“We have procrastinated in this state for way too long this is an important safety feature that should have been rolled out two years ago,” President of the Police Association, Mark Carroll said.
“Policing in this country has already determined a suitable vest to roll out to operations police.”
But South Australia Police says the new vests are better.
“The NSW vests were purchased some years ago and the technology has advanced beyond that so we’re actually looking at what’s currently in the marketplace not what used to be in the marketplace,” Mr Carroll said.
The various ballistic vests will be tested by officers for just over two months with SA Police to then decide which vest becomes part of its regular uniform.
“Whether one vest is suitable or whether we’re looking for the features from different vests or we’re looking for multiple vests that’s part of the trial,” Deputy Commissioner, Linda Williams said.